A message from Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO Jewish Federation of Edmonton

Jewish Federation of Edmonton CEO Stacey Leavitt-Wright

by Stacey Leavitt-Wright

(Edmonton) – It is my absolute hope as I write this message that the beginning is obsolete— that my primal scream of “Let My People Go” is no longer needed. I hope all 134 people are returned home to their families in time for the seders. This Passover, we demand freedom for our people being held in captivity by Hamas.

Each year around the Passover table we are reminded that we too left Egypt.

Together as a people, we ventured into the unknown of the desert and trusted each other and G-d with our fate. It was this faith that allowed us to leave Egypt, and together as one, reach our homeland.

The rituals of the Passover seder will take on new meaning, as we dip our parsley in salt water in symbolism of the tears of our people, we cry for those still held captive and those in need of healing. We cry for the suffering of those who have lost family members massacred on October 7, and those who have lost loved ones fallen while serving the country in the IDF. We taste the bitterness of entire communities and cities still displaced, evacuated from their homes for months on end.

Whether it’s the four questions we have our children ask, or the subtle traditions meant to inspire curiosity —Passover, more than any other holiday, is about passing our Jewish traditions and stories to the next generation.

This was not the story of our ancestors alone; this is our story. The story of our peoplehood and togetherness. The story of what we can accomplish as a community. The story of the power of unity.

Amidst our reflections, let us also look to the future with hope. I am excited to share that active steps are taking place in the planning phase of the new Jewish Community Centre. We submitted a development permit application and tendered out a request for proposals to several architecture firms.

This new facility will serve as a beacon of unity and renewal for our community, a place where our values, and heritage can flourish for years to come. I have quipped that it took 40 years of wandering the desert to reach our homeland, and in Edmonton we have wandered without a home for less.

As we personally regard ourselves as having left Egypt, we must also ask how we will personally ensure that in every generation, including ours, the Jewish community remains strong and united.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Chag Pesach Sameach!

Stacey Leavitt-Wright is CEO, Jewish Federation of Edmonton

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